The Craft of Bookbinding

by Manly Banister

Sterling Publishing Co, Inc, 1975
Reprinted by Dover Publications, Inc in 1993

readability rating
4 star readability rating Banister's writing is fairly clear, though some explanations require more than one reading.
content rating
4 star content rating A good book to start binding, with good introductions to quite advanced techniques.

This was one of the books given to me by Martin to start binding with. It's a good technical book, with instructions on most of the basic types of fine bookbinding in hard covers. It has become one of my constant references.

The Good Stuff
Banister describes many binding techniques, even relatively difficult ones like backing and lacing in covers. He also gives some excellent information on working with leather. And he is resolutely an amateur, focusing on how to bind books with a minimum of expensive equipment. He gives instructions and diagrams on how to build your own presses and explains where to get everyday substitutes for specialist tools.
Could Do Better
Like most binders, Banister is biased against some forms of binding. He is generally opposed to the flexible style of binding, feeling that it is not flexible enough. He is also an enthusiast for sewing on buried cords, a technique that most other binders frown on.
Best Bit
The chapter on tools and equipment explains how to cut a jack plane blade to make a plough blade, and then re-temper it in a kitchen oven. Delia Smith, eat your heart out!